An international jury chose Plovdiv to be the European City of Culture in 2019. Three other Bulgarian cities – Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo – had also succeded to reach the last stage of the rivalry to become the host of this event. European dimensions and the city and its citizens – these were the two main groups of criteria by which the jury of international and Bulgarian experts had evaluated the applications.
Plovdiv has always been among the most significent cities on the Balkan Peninsula since the times of the great Roman Empire. Situated on the ancient road “Via Diagonalis” connecting Rome and Constantinople, it is in one of the richest areas in historical aspect in Europe. Three years ago it was declared by the prestigious British magazine “The Daily Telegraph” as the oldest living city on the continent and the second in the world by age after Damascus. It is a fact that for more than 8000 years this place has been a home and center for the development of different civilizations. The entire city of Plovdiv is like a big museum where every street, building or square under the hills has a history of its own. Beneath them are hidden cultural layers from the prehistoric era to the time of the Thracians, Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
The spirit of Plovdiv is a source of the creative power of its artists, writers and musicians. Among the most famous festivals are the International Chamber Music Festival, which takes place in the Old Town; the National Autumn Exhibitions; the Festival Verdi, bringing together fans of the opera in the Roman theater; the Easter and Christmas musical festivals; the International Folklore Festival, the International Theatrical Festival “A scene at crossroads” (its 18th edition takes place this year from September 9th to 23rd);  the Week of Contemporary Art, conducted in the Historical Architectural Monument The Ancient Bath.
After Plovdiv was elected as European Capital of Culture in 2019, the Mayor Ivan Totev announced an ambitious cultural program. According to it in Plovdiv there will be an Island of Arts in the middle of the Maritsa River. The old tobacco warehouses in the city will be turned into cultural space, too, and “Kapana” (the “Trap”) will become a quarter of the arts, where the creative industries are going to be developed and presented.
For 2019 the City Under the Hills  is planning a number of concerts, including “Balkan Music in Plovdiv”. Goran Bregovic has already confirmed his participation in it. The city will host the Plovdiv Biennale and a number of international forums, such as a meeting of collectors from Europe, a summer art school, dance projects, etc.
The official nomination of the Capitals of Culture for 2019 by the Council of Ministers of the EU will be in May 2015.

Source: Bulgariatravel.org